KUANTAN: All 15 people, including Himpunan Hijau leader Wong Tack, who took part in a protest against Lynas Advanced Materials Plant in Gebeng last month were charged Tuesday with allegedly committing unlawful assembly and rioting.
Wong and nine others were charged under Section 145 of the Penal Code, which carries a jail term of up to two years, a fine or both, if convicted.
They were Chong Kong Yuen, Raymond Ng Abdullah, Hew Kuan Yau, Thomas Wang, Ta Weng Seng, Rapar Ahmad, Lee Khai Ming, Tan Chee Hooi and Zamri Zonal.
All the 10 accused were said to have committed the offence between 4pm and 5.30pm in Jalan Bandaran, Gebeng, on June 22, despite the directive by Kuantan OCPD Asst Comm Abdul Aziz Salleh to disperse.
Another five protestors were charged for using force to gatecrash a police blockade set up under the instruction of ACP Abdul Aziz at the same place and time.
The offence, under Section 147 of the same Act for rioting, also carries the same punishment, upon conviction.
The five were Phua Kia Yaw, Ho Kam Huat, Foong Poh Choo, Wong Chee Wai and Wong Chee Wen.
Ho also faced an additional charged under Section 353 of the Act for allegedly using criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty.
The accused was said to have kicked the leg and scratched the face of detective Kpl Isaher @ Azhar Abd Hamid in his bid to resist arrest at the same place and time.
All the 15 accused, clad in their trademark green T-shirts, claimed trial to the charges.
Sessions judge Zainal Abidin Kamarudin fixed Sept 2 for the case to be re-mentioned and granted a bail of RM2,500 for each charge in one surety.
He also set conditions for the accused not to discuss the proceedings with a third party and to report themselves to the nearest police station before the 5th of every month.
All the accused were represented by Gobind Singh Deo, S. Prakash, Ravin Jay Kumar and Mohd Haijan Omar while Deputy Public Prosecutor Kalmizah Salleh prosecuted.
When met outside the courtroom, lead counsel Gobind Singh said the defence would be challenging the "gag order" which was very unusual and unlawful at the High Court here.
"This is against Article 10 of the Federal Constitution. We would be filing the documents in one or two days," he said, adding that he had never come across such a condition imposed against speaking to a third party.
A large group of people, clad in mostly green T-shirts, were present to show support, including several Opposition assemblymen namely Leong
Ngah Ngah (Tanah Rata), Chow Yu Hui (Bilut), Lee Chin Chen (Ketari) and Andansura Rabu (Beserah).
Police presence were also heavy led by Kuantan Deputy OCPD Supt Abdul Aziz Ahmad.
All the accused later posted bail and dispersed peacefully.